Newsletter October 2009

1. DVD Raga Unveiled
- New in our Assortment -

Raga Unveiled is the title of an ambitious double DVD on the classical raga music of North India. It contains four hours and 20 minutes of in-depth introduction into the very foundations of the North Indian raga tradition. The film consists mainly of the explanations and performances of an impressive array of leading figures of the North Indian music scene, complemented by background information with evocative images of India and animated charts. The enormous richness of authentic viewpoints, insights and musical styles gives the viewer a multi-faceted and complex picture of the tradition. However, the aim is not a practical learning of certain ragas or talas, but an understanding of the very essence of the music and its underlying concepts - which is of crucial importance both for practical music study and for auditory enjoyment!

The list of participants reads like a who is who of Indian music. The following musicians and scholars have contributed verbal statements and / or their music:

  • male khyal singers Bhimsen Joshi, Kumar Gandharva, Amir Khan, Feroze Dastur, Abdul Rashid Khan, Ajoy Chakrabarty, Dinkar Kaikini, Vijay Kichlu, Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Ulhas Kashalkar, Amit Mukherjee, Ramashray Jha, Kumar Mukherjee and Dilshad Khan
  • female khyal singers Gangubai Hangal, Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Prabha Atre, Ashwini Bhide, Shubha Mudgal, Padma Talwalkar, Lalitha Ubhayakar, Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni, Aarti Anklikar, Subhra Guha, Manjari Asnare, Mansi Majumdar, Sabina Islam and Parween Sultana
  • dhrupad singers Fahimuddin Dagar, Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ramakant & Umakant Gundecha
  • carnatic singer Sudha Ragunathan,
  • sitarists Ravi Shankar, Kushal Das, Arvind Parikh, Shujaat Khan, Nayan Ghosh and Purbayan Chatterjee
  • sarodists Ali Akbar Khan, Amjad Ali Khan, Tejendra Narayan Majumdar and Debhojyoti Bose
  • santoor players Shivkumar Sharma and Satish Vyas
  • guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya
  • flutists Ronu Majumdar, Rakesh Chaurasia, Shashank and Steve Gorn
  • shahnai player Bismillah Khan
  • kathak dancer Birju Maharaj
  • tabla players Ahmedjan Thirakhwa, Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Swapan Chaudhuri, Kishan Maharaj, Tanmoy Bose, Satyajit Talwalkar, Yogesh Samsi, Subhankar Banerjee, Akram Khan, Alap Desai, Samir Chatterjee and Ashish Paul
  • pakhawaj player Bhawani Shankar
  • musicologists Ashok Ranade, Jayant Kastur and George Ruckert
  • vedic scholars Subhash Kak, Satya Narayan Dasa and Swami Yogatmananda

The zeal and enthusiasm of Gita and Mukesh Desai, producers of Raga Unveiled, is obvious: the whole movie is a passionate plea for the incomparable beauty of the North Indian raga culture. Instead of boring the viewers with well-meaning pedagogics or overstraining them with technical details, the movie tries to go straight to the heart with wonderful music and moving and pointed statements from excellent sources. The essence of the raga culture seems endangered by the fast westernisation of modern Indian life, and Gita Desai ventures to win back support for the tradition from all of us this way.

The movie consists of the following chapters: Introduction, Philosophy & History, Note & Melody (Swara & Raga), Tempo & Rhythm (Laya & Tala), Moods & Emotions (Rasa & Bhava), Improvisation (Vistar), Master & Disciple (Guru & Shishya), Lineage (Gharana), Training & Performance (Sadhana & Prastuti), Compositional Styles (Gayan Shailee), Instruments (Vadya) und Points to Ponder. Most of the spoken texts are in English. Passages in Hindi or other Indian languages have English subtitles. Subtitles in other languages are not available. Archival material is complementing the original film. The official trailer for Raga Unveiled is available at ragaunveiled.

Raga Unveiled is now available from us for 32,90 Euros (plus 3,90 Euros shipping within Europe)!


2. Spare Adhesive for AKG Microphone
- New in our Assortment -

Our contact microphone AKG C-411 LINK is a well-proven, inexpensive and straightforward pick-up tool for Indian string instruments in concert settings. However, the mic's adhesive, with which it is fixed to the instrument, can wear in course of time - small particles rub off and the adhesive power gets weak. Therefore we now offer the original AKG adhesive separately as a spare part for 2,- Euros (plus 3,90 Euros shipping within Europe). Of course the original AKG adhesive can be used as well to attach contact mics from other manufacturers or other small objects.


3. Tagore Award for Peter Pannke
- Scene Info -

World music visionary Peter Pannke has received the Tagore Cultural Award 2009 of the Indo-German Society (DIG). The award, including a prize money of 5000 Euros, was presented in a function at the DIG's annual gathering in Stuttgart on October 10th. Second awardee was linguist and indologist Dieter B. Kapp, expert on tribal languages in Southern India and German translator of Hindi and Tamil literature.

Peter Pannke, born in 1946, studied sinology, indology, comparative musicology and religious studies before going on extended journeys throughout Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India and learning dhrupad singing with the families of the Malliks and Dagars. In order to earn due respect for various styles of Indian music, Peter Pannke published more than 80 CDs and LPs, presented over 4000 radio broadcasts and wrote for Lettre International, TAZ, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, GEO, Independent and Songlines. Highlights of his work as author, journalist, composer, musician, musicologist and producer were the festivals „Parampara! – Indian Music on its Way to the West“ and „Pakistani Soul '97“, both in the house of world cultures in Berlin, the music theatre project "Morungen" on the oriental journey of medieval minstrel Heinrich von Morungen and the books "India – Feast of Colours", "Troubadours of Allah – Sufi Music in the Indus Valley" and "Singers Have to Die Twice - A Journey into the Unheard India".

The DIG's press statement with further details (in German) is available at


4. Radio Night of Indian Music
- Scene Info -

Cologne-based West-German radio station WDR 3 is going to broadcast a whole night of Indian music on November 22nd from 5 minutes after midnight until 6 o'clock in the morning. The title is "Nord- und südindische Klänge in west-östlichem Dialog", which translates as "North and South Indian Sounds in a West-Eastern Diaogue". The night consists of recent live recordings from concerts and festivals in Bielefeld, Bonn, Duisburg and Cologne with the following ensembles:

  • Shastriya Syndicate: Purbayan Chatterjee (sitar), Veenai Jayanthi Kumaresh (saraswati-veena), Rakesh Chaurasia (bansuri), Murad Ali (sarangi),
  • Subhankar Bannerjee (tabla), Pramath Kiran (percussion) and Satish Patri (mridangam) Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha (dhrupad vocal) with Jörg Kaufmann (pakhawaj)
  • Karaikudi Subramaniam (saraswati-veena) solo
  • Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi (violins) with Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam) and V. Suresh (ghatam)
  • G. Ramanathan and Rainer Pusch (saxophones) with Arup Sengupta (tabla) and Herbert Lang (mridangam)
  • Stephanie Bosch (bansuri) with Arup Sengupta (tabla)

Complementing the music will be a couple of informative background features (in German). Detailed info in the WDR programme schedule at


5. Workshops in November
- Scene Info -

The 24th annual seminar of the Ali Akbar College of Music Switzerland will be taking place in Basel from 9.11. - 15.11. Teachers will be tabla maestro Swapan Chaudhuri (also present on the DVD Raga Unveiled - see above), tabla player Henry Nagelberg, sarodist Ken Zuckerman and sitarist Daniel Bradley. The seminar is a great opportunity for study, practice and exchange for any lover of Indian music - from beginners to professionals! It consists of classes in vocal, instrumental (sitar, sarod, flute, violin, guitar), tabla and rhythm. Preceeding the main seminar will be special introductory classes for beginners from 6.11. - 8.11. A film screening and a concert in memory of late Ali Akbar Khan will also be integrated in the seminar on 13.11. Further info on the teachers, schedule, cost, registration and accomodation at

Another highlight this fall is the annual kathak workshop of the Academy of Kathak Dance from 11.11. - 22.11. in Berlin. It will be led by the academy's director Ioanna Srinivasan and consists of intensive classes at different technical levels from beginner to professional. Further info at

Also noteworthy are two workshops with eminent tabla masters: Suresh Talwalkar will be teaching from 15.11. - 17.11. in Munich and Swapan Chaudhuri will be teaching from 21.11. - 22.11. in Berlin. Further info on these and other workshops at

Go back